When it comes to stretching every dollar it seems like a constant battle. Making a vehicle last and avoiding expensive repairs is just one more way in a long list of items that have to be monitored carefully. But, how do you know you are getting the right service for the right price? Here are 3 very healthy tips from 3 ASE certified auto mechanics with decades of experience to help you get the best value for the most money.
Identifying Profitable Up Sales
In reality every auto service business is, in the end, in business to earn a profit. One of the ways they do this is by suggesting upsales for many different products and services. Oil change businesses that charge for topping off fluids, rotating and balancing tires, or vacuuming the vehicle are a good example. Some of the services are appealing sounding, but may not be necessary.
“We always included topping off fluids and vacuuming”, says Todd Lewis former Jiffy lube technician, “but a lot of other companies charged extra fees for these services.” Another up-sale they had, which wasn’t always necessary was balancing and rotating tires. Todd’s advice is to check your tire and vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and keep good records. “Keeping good records”, he continues, “is something almost no one does. That results in them not knowing when the last service was performed” and costing them money.
High Performance Parts And Services
Not all vehicles are manufactured equally. Some have high revving, high powered engines and systems which require higher performance. Chances are you know if your vehicle falls into this category. If not all you need to do is ask the right people and Charles Dobson of Dobson Foreign Performance (now retired) gave some great advice when he said, “If you drive any vehicle that didn’t come with a seemingly exaggerated price tag the chances are pretty good you don’t need upgraded service. Oil and tires may be the only place I’d ever recommend upgrading just for better vehicle life.”
Again the advice is to read your owner’s manual and even speak with the service writer or service manager at a dealership for your particular make and model of vehicle. You don’t need to pay $15 per quart of oil if your vehicle only requires a $4 brand.
Wipers, Bulbs And Coatings
We may not think of it as auto service but keeping a car clean, lit, and the windshield clear all lead to the healthy longevity of our cars and trucks. Just a few years ago there were just no choices in wiper blades and bulbs. If you knew what make, model and year your auto was you simply purchased the replacement and you were on your way. Today, however, there are dozens of types of blades and bulbs to choose from with prices all over the board. Parts specialist Ron Hitte of Mr. Automotive warns, “It’s easy to be lured into buying some very expensive wiper blades that promise to do everything for you including clearing sheets of ice. Think about where you live, where you park and what kinds of conditions you face. And bulbs are just about the same. If you don’t drive on winding, unlit country roads you probably don’t need bulbs that blind oncoming drivers.”
Because he has so many show cars he wanted to make sure to talk about protective coatings and added, “so many people think you have to have the most expensive spray on paint protection when really the most important thing is just to keep your vehicle clean and with a light coat of wax.” Hitte finishes by saying, “I know it sounds difficult but always check three prices before spending money. That will save you a bunch in the long run.”